Nationwide swings its ax, trims back more branches

The UK’s largest building society is at it again, swinging its ax and trimming back its branch network by 23 – and industry experts are calling it a ‘savage’ culling.

Nationwide recently announced that it is shuttering one Dunfermline Building Society branch, three Cheshire BS branches, ten from Derbyshire Building Society’s branch network, and nine Nationwide branches from across several different counties. The names and locations of the branches will be publicised in-branch and by post within the week, representatives from the building society declared.

This is the second round of Nationwide closures in as many years, with 13 branches being shuttered in 2011. The majority of the building society’s closures last year occurred in south-east London, primarily in economically disadvantaged locales; meanwhile, the building society also pulled the plug on the entirety of its agency network in 2010, on the grounds that the building society-operated counters at businesses such as estate agents or solicitor firms were not turning a profit.

As for the current round of closures – which will go into effect this August – the mutual says that many different factors play a role, such as an effort to streamline branches. With some Nationwide branches being located in close proximity to a Derbyshire or Cheshire branch, Nationwide claims that customers will not suffer from any reduced access to banking services as a result, but many campaigners have criticised the move, stating that communities could be devastated by the loss of so many branches across the UK; the confusion caused by the shuttering Derbyshire or Dunfermline branches could be substantial, as they were not re-branded when taken over by Nationwide several years ago.

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